Sunday, 2 August 2015

#alivegurlmudik: Our Patriot with the Violin

One of the places I’d really wanted to visit in Surabaya is W. R. Soepratman’s house and tomb. Back in Jakarta, the street where I live has his name as its name and he’s always intrigued me. Wage Rudolf Soepratman is the composer of our national anthem, Indonesia Raya, in case you didn’t know. To be honest, I didn’t know what his life was like and how it came to be that his song was turned into our national anthem. The more shocking truth is how very few people know where he used to live (and die). The first place my sister and I visited was his tomb, since the taxi driver seemed to know that place better than the house. It was huge! It was almost like a whole cemetery just for him. There is a courtyard and a flagpole in the middle. To the south, his statue stands in front of a marble wall with the lyrics of his famous song on it. To the east is his life stories etched on a wide marble wall, including some of his famous quotes. To the north is a set of purple, violin-shaped gates. And, finally, his tomb lies somewhat on the west, which is put a few steps upward. It looks like a bit of a Javanese palace with marble floors, where no shoes and sandals are allowed in. The tomb itself looks incredibly gorgeous with the chorus to his song and a violin shape filled with stones. Incredibly wondrous!

Asos pinafore // Primark shirt (thrifted) // vintage hat // Kmart purse + tights (Sis's) // DF Fashion shoes // outfit photos by Akita

Afterwards, we asked around for directions to the house of Mr. Soepratman. Everyone was kind enough to point us in the right direction, thankfully. We took a minibus/"bemo" there. The house is but a normal house, so it was located so deep within the neighbourhood, we had to take so many small alleyways until we finally found it. The place is always locked, though, unless someone comes to visit. The locals know where to ask for the keys but they won’t tell you, unless you ask. The groundskeeper, Ibu Pur, actually lives just two houses in front of Mr. Soepratman’s house itself, so she wouldn’t be too hard to find. She is also a very kind and knowledgeable woman. If you want to visit this house sometime, you can come at 6 AM at the earliest until probably before sunset, but during Ramadhan it would be best to come in the morning or day. The house is very small, consisting only of two rooms - probably bedrooms. It has many pictures of Mr. Soepratman, his old song drafts, his original violin and past plans to honour him. It has a tiny backyard with a patch of green - and nothing else. His story was so riveting, how just by composing songs he could get arrested and strike fear in the hearts of the Dutch. Such a way to fight! Alas, he had to die before he could see this country claim its freedom at last. Stay tuned for more heroic frolicking!

P.S: Can't you tell I was so happy to finally have my pictures taken in a typical Indonesian alley?

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